This week I commend to you the following words from Marti Hunt, reporting on this year's Diocesan Convention of the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire. Convention is part business meeting, part info session, and mostly church. As you read Marti's words, imagine yourself at St. Paul's Church with 200 fellow worshipers for song and Eucharist and decision-making on behalf of the diocese, and you may be able to believe what a good time it was.
This past Saturday, Reed Loy, our rector; and Mary Carter, Marti Hunt, Pete Mitchell, and Rob Thompson, convocation delegates, represented St. Andrew's at the diocesan convention. The half-day meeting consisted of three main elements: Eucharist, Bishop Hirschfeld's address, and diocesan business.
Bishop Rob used a personal story of overturning in his rowing scull and the image of the church nave as an overturned hull of a ship to share the perspective that the church is overturned. For some of us being increasingly on the fringe brings sadness, but for others there is a sense of release.
We are feeling nearer to the early days of the church, nearer to Jesus, nearer to the marginalized. Rather than focusing on average Sunday attendance, it may be more meaningful to focus on average weekly encounters with Jesus (AWE). Jesus' words turn the world on its head now just as they did during his life and the early days of the church. Bishop Rob called on us to: enter the journey to become Beloved Community, move the words of the gospel, the Sermon on the Mount, deeper into our hearts, and ensure that the light of Christ burns brightly.
Three resolutions were passed. The 2018 budget was passed and represents a 5% decrease from 2017. A new clergy compensation proposal was passed which includes ranges, rather than set figures, and also includes the formation of an appointed Human Resources Committee. A resolution brought forward by the Reconciliation Committee passed encouraging the diocese to engage in the Presiding Bishop's call to become "Beloved Community," which encourages our parish to enter a Lenten Study to further this goal.